New Delhi (AFP) – Gautam Gambhir on Wednesday stepped down as captain of Indian Premier League side Delhi Daredevils after they lost five of their first six matches in this year’s Twenty20 tournament.
Mumbai batsman Shreyas Iyer has been appointed the new captain of a side that lies bottom of the eight-team table in the cash-rich league.
Gambhir, who led Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL titles in 2012 and 2014, was bought by Daredevils for $418,320 in the January auction and subsequently made skipper ahead of the 2018 season.
But the left-handed opener failed to inspire the Daredevils in the first half of the IPL. He has scored just 85 runs in five innings.
“I take full responsibility for where we are at the points table,” Gambhir told reporters in New Delhi.
“I felt this was the right time because we still have a chance. Absolutely my decision. No pressure from the franchise.
“Maybe I was too desperate to turn things around…I was sitting alone and thinking, I couldn’t handle the pressure… I was not good enough and that is all,” said the 36-year-old Gambhir.
Daredevils coach Ricky Ponting congratulated Gambhir for what the former Australian captain called a “tough decision”.
“I think Gautam deserves a lot of credit with the way he has handled this situation,” said Ponting.
“It’s really unheard of in Indian cricket for a senior player to put his hand up and say that I am not playing well enough and for the team’s sake I am going to stand down,” he added.
Gambhir, who played his 58th and most recent Test for India in 2016 against England, has fallen off the selectors’ radar.
Daredevils’ team management said Gambhir will continue as player and mentor for a side still seeking its first title in the glitzy league which began in 2008.
The IPL is now in its 11th season.
There is $8 million in prize money at stake including $4 million for the winning team. The final takes place on May 27 in Mumbai.